The American Poles began a campaign in the Press under the slogan
<c release the first soldiers in the war5 the most faithful of our allies from
Soviet hell! " and sent requests to President Roosevelt and to Congress.
Bishop Gawlina's statement., after his visit to the Soviet Union, that
200,000 Polish children had already died from starvation in that country
and that an equal number were condemned to death, made a deep im-
pression throughout the world.
The Polish people received many words of comfort from British and
American representatives during those days of tension. The British
Government took the opportunity^ on May 3, the Polish National Feast,
of sending a message to the Polish Premier on behalf of His Majesty's
Government and the British people, assuring him that the heavy sacrifices
of the Polish people " will be crowned by the restoration of a great and
independent Poland,35 and that one of the war-aims of the British policy
was to see that country "great and independent.5'
Sir John Anderson, in his speech on behalf of the British War Cabinet,
at the meeting held in commemoration of the Polish National Day
" We have been happy to welcome to these shores those Polish leaders
and Polish soldiers who came here seeking one thing only, a friendly land
from which to continue the fight... We remember with gratitude/5 he said,
fe the part which Polish airmen^ equipped with British aircraft, played in
the Battle of Britain, one of the decisive battles of the world . . . There is
a specially close relationship between this country and Poland, forged in
adversity during the dark years when Hitler seemed to be carrying all
before him in Europe. Poland has been to us a loyal and faithful Ally . ..
Poland's greatness and prosperity shall be restored."
On April 19., the American Congress unanimously voted for a two-hour
debate to take place on May 3 " with the aim of discussing Polish affairs
on the Day of the National Feast of our sister Polish Republic." Speaker
Sam Rayburn (Democrat) opened the debate. He addressed the Polish
cc We salute you, because you stood unshaken when all others had bowed
down before the apparition of war. You were the first to discard all com-
promise. Three times before have you rescued Europe,* and now once
again Christian civilisation has found its first and faithful defender in the
Polish people. We salute you for those eight months of time to re-arm
which you gave to the world. Had it not been for those eight months,
the Second Great War would have been lost, and slavery would have ruled
over the world. We salute you, for not one of your sons have extended
their hands to the foe. We salute you, because in this war for your own
existence you have given your help and love to millions of Jews condemned
to slaughter behind the awful walls of the ghettos.
cc We salute you for your immortal love of freedom, a love which has
incensed the other nations to defend their freedom."
* Sam Rayburn was referring to 1241 y when Poland had arrested the Mongol
advance in the battle of Szydlov and Lignica ; in 16833 when Ian III Sobieski had
rescued Vienna by defeating the Turks ; and 19203 when the Communist invasion
had been halted at the gates of "Warsaw.